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  • Writer's pictureRaghad Bushnaq

Between the Counted Days and the Known Days

Updated: Jun 14

 

As we bid farewell to Ramadan, our hearts are heavy, particularly as we leave behind its most blessed and beautiful final days. We endeavor to sustain our level of worship for a significant period, but life's responsibilities, laziness, worries, and illnesses often overtake us. Yet, in His mercy, Allah grants us another sacred and blessed season: the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, known as the appointed days. Reflecting on the root of this term, we discover that it signifies 'known days,' distinguished for their immense reward and significance. 


The counted days of Ramadan:

 

{أَيَّامًا مَعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۚ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ۖ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ ۚ وَأَن تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُون}

 

"[Fasting for] a limited number of days. So, whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] - then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] - a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess - it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew." (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:184)

 

 

The known days of Dhul Hijjah:

 

 {وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَعْلُومَاتٍ عَلَىٰ مَا رَزَقَهُمْ مِن بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ ۖ فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْبَائِسَ الْفَقِيرَ}

 

"And mention the name of Allah on known days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor." (Surah Al-Hajj, 22:28)

 

 

How is the virtue of the appointed known days higher than the reward of the counted days of Ramadan?

 

In Ramadan, we worship Allah while seeking Laylat al-Qadr during the last ten days. Whether we witness this night or not, we still receive the reward for our efforts. The days of Ramadan pass quickly as we combine fasting, praying, and charity. Worship during Ramadan is made easier because Shaytan is tied up, leaving us to manage our own selves without his interference. After fasting for 30 days, Allah blesses us with Eid al-Fitr, a three-day celebration known as the "small" Eid.

However, the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah hold even greater virtue. During these appointed known days, the opportunities for worship and righteous deeds are unparalleled, and the rewards are immense. Allah has blessed these days, making them renowned for their specific rewards and the significance of our remembrance and worship. Allah swore by these ten days, and His oath is reserved only for matters of great importance.


{وَالْفَجْرِ ۝ وَلَيَالٍ عَشْرٍ}


"By the dawn; by the ten nights."(Surah Al-Fajr, 89:1-2)

 

In the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, Allah has encompassed all the pillars of Islam: prayer, fasting, charity, and Hajj. The rewards and significance of these days are unparalleled. It may surprise you to learn that acts of worship in these days hold greater weight in the sight of Allah than the acts of worship in any other blessed days, except for a person who went for Jihad for the sake of Allah, sacrificing his life and wealth without returning.

 

قال رسول الله ﷺ "مَا مِنْ أَيَّامٍ الْعَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ فِيهَا أَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنْ هَذِهِ الْأَيَّامِ - يَعْنِي أَيَّامَ الْعَشْرِ. قَالُوا: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، وَلَا الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ؟ قَالَ: وَلَا الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ، إِلَّا رَجُلٌ خَرَجَ بِنَفْسِهِ وَمَالِهِ، ثُمَّ لَمْ يَرْجِعْ مِنْ ذَٰلِكَ بِشَيْء"ٍ


The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days (the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah)." The people asked, "Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?" He said, "Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except for a man who goes out with his self and wealth and does not return with anything." (Sahih Bukhari)

 

During these days, Takbeer (glorifying Allah) and Tasbeeh (praising Allah) are central themes, while fasting, Tahajjud (night prayer), and reciting the Quran take precedence. For the Hujjaj (pilgrims), fasting is exempted due to the Hajj rituals and obligations. For those not performing Hajj, dedication to worship is considered equal to the efforts of the Hujjaj in Makkah, Arafah, Mina, and Muzdalifah. Unlike Ramadan, when Shaytan is absent, these days require engaging in self Jihad—battling one's own self to maintain moral integrity, values, positive attitudes, and a strong connection to Allah. This struggle against Shaytan's distractions and pitfalls makes the commitment to worship during these days even more highly rewarded.

 

Fasting for just nine days in Dhul Hijjah brings the immense reward of the four days of Eid al-Adha, also known as the "big" Eid. The first day of Eid is included in these ten days of worship and features the act of Udhiya (sacrificial offering), commemorating the success of Prophet Ibrahim's test. Reflecting on the miracles of Surah Al-Kawthar alone provides profound lessons about these ten days and their significance. The command "So pray to your Lord and sacrifice [to Him alone]" (فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ) encapsulates the essence of worship on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, the first day of Eid. It's a day marked by prayer and the act of sacrifice. 

 

Themes of These Days:

 

Takbeer and Thiker:

Consistent remembrance and glorification of Allah are fundamental. Engaging in abundant dhikr (remembrance) is crucial for achieving a serene and tranquil heart. Allah desires to bestow this spiritual state upon us during these days, preparing us with the energy for the upcoming Hajj season. The Quran emphasizes the commands of dhikr (remembrance of Allah) before, during, and after the rituals of Hajj.


{فَٱذْكُرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ كَذِكْرِكُمْ ءَابَآءَكُمْ أَوْ أَشَدَّ ذِكْرًۭا ۗ وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُۥ فِى ٱلْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَـٰق}


"Remember Allah like you remember your fathers or with [much] greater remembrance. And among the people is he who says, 'Our Lord, give us in this world,' and he will have in the Hereafter no share." (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:200)


{فَٱذْكُرُونِىٓ أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَٱشْكُرُوا۟ لِى وَلَا تَكْفُرُون}


"So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me."

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:152)


Fasting and Tahajjud:

Give priority to fasting during the first nine days and engaging in night prayers. For those not performing Hajj, their dedication to worship equals that of the pilgrims performing rituals at the holy sites.


"قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ يَصُومُ يَوْمًا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا بَعَدَّ اللَّهُ بِذَلِكَ الْيَوْمِ وَجْهَهُ عَنِ النَّارِ سَبْعِينَ خَرِيفًاً" (رواه أبو هريرة)


The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "There is no servant who fasts a day in the way of Allah, except that Allah will distance his face from the Hellfire by a distance of seventy autumns (years)."    (Narrated by Abu Huraira)


"قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ "الْقِيَامُ شَرْفُ الْمُؤْمِنِ" (رواه الطبراني)


The Messenger of Allah ﷺ "The Qiyam (standing in prayer at night) is the honor of the believer." (Narrated by Al-Tabarani)


Sa'i (Striving):

Sa'i symbolizes the relentless search for water by Hajar for her son Isma'il. This act of striving and perseverance mirrors our own efforts to seek the pleasure of Allah and achieve Jannah. It signifies our journey towards righteousness and spiritual fulfillment in this life, with the ultimate goal of attaining paradise in the Hereafter.

 

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ "الْمُجَاهِدُ مَنْ جَاهَدَ نَفْسَهُ فِي طَاعَةِ اللَّهِ" (صحيح الترمذي)


The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "The true Mujahid (striver) is the one who strives against his own soul for the obedience of Allah." (Sahih al-Tirmidhi)

 

 

 قال رسول الله ﷺ "المؤمن القوي خير وأحب إلى الله من المؤمن الضعيف، وفي كل خير، احرص على ما ينفعك، واستعن بالله ولا تعجز، وإن أصابك شيء فلا تقل لو أني فعلت كذا وكذا لكان كذا وكذا، ولكن قدر الله وما شاء فعل، فإن لو تفتح عمل الشيطان" (رواه مسلم)

 

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both. Be keen on what benefits you, seek help from Allah, and do not despair. If a setback happens to you, do not say, 'If only I had done such and such,' but instead say, 'Allah decrees and what He wills, He does.' Verily, the phrase 'if only' opens the way for the work of Satan." (Sahih Muslim)

 

Charity (Sadaqah and Zakat):

During these days, there is a strong emphasis on giving charity, whether as Sadaqah (voluntary charity) or Zakat (obligatory almsgiving). Acts of charity serve to assist those in need while also purifying our wealth and souls. Engaging in charity during the blessed days of Dhul Hijjah carries immense virtue in Islam, as this period is highly esteemed by Allah for the rewards bestowed upon charitable acts. Muslims are therefore encouraged to intensify their charitable deeds during these sacred times, seeking to attain greater rewards and blessings from Allah.

 

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ "مَا مِنْ يَوْمٍ يُصْبِحُ الْعَبْدُ فِيهِ إِلَّا مَلَكَانِ يَنْزِلَانِ فَيَقُولُ أَحَدُهُمَا: اللَّهُمَّ أَعْطِ مُنْفِقًا خَلَفًا، وَيَقُولُ الْآخَرُ: اللَّهُمَّ أَعْطِ مُمْسِكًا تَلَفًا" (رواه البخاري) 


The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "Every day two angels descend and one of them says, 'O Allah, give in compensation to the one who spends (in charity),' and the other says, 'O Allah, destroy the wealth of the one who withholds.'" (Sahih al-Bukhari)

 

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Du'a and Quran Recitation:

These days hold great favor with Allah for the acceptance of prayers and supplications. Muslims are urged to contemplate deeply on the chance these days offer to intensify their supplications, recognizing that their heartfelt prayers during this sacred period hold special significance to Allah. Du'a should encompass four key aspects: our connection with Allah, our relationships with others, provisions, and our physical as well as spiritual health and well-being. 


قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ "إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى يَنْزِلُ كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا حِينَ يَبْقَى ثُلُثُ اللَّيْلِ الآخِرُ، فَيَقُولُ: مَنْ يَدْعُونِي فَأَسْتَجِيبَ لَهُ؟ وَمَنْ يَسْأَلُنِي فَأُعْطِيَهُ؟ وَمَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُنِي فَأَغْفِرَ لَهُ؟" (صحيح مسلم)


The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Indeed, your Lord, blessed and exalted, descends every night to the lowest heaven when the last third of the night remains, and He says: 'Who supplicates Me that I may answer him? Who asks of Me that I may give him? Who seeks forgiveness from Me that I may forgive him?'" (Sahih Muslim)


The Day of Arafah:

The Day of Arafa holds deep significance within the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, known as the Ashr al-Hajj (the ten days of Hajj). It marks the culmination of Hajj, occurring on the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah, when pilgrims gather on the plains of Arafah to fulfill the most essential ritual of Hajj.

For Muslims worldwide who are not performing Hajj, the Day of Arafa is also a highly encouraged time for fasting and devotion. It is a day abundant with Allah's mercy and forgiveness.

قال رسول الله ﷺ "الحج عرفة" (رواه مسلم)


The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Hajj is Arafah." (Sahih Muslim)


The Day of Arafah holds profound significance within the pilgrimage, serving as its central pillar. It is a day dedicated to intense worship, heartfelt supplication, and seeking forgiveness, as Muslims endeavor to draw closer to Allah and seek His abundant blessings and mercy.

On this blessed day, Muslims reflect on their deeds, seek repentance for their sins, and earnestly pray for Allah's guidance and forgiveness. Fasting on the Day of Arafah is believed to expiate sins from the previous year and the year to come, a divine mercy and blessing bestowed by Allah. Therefore, the Day of Arafah stands as a pivotal moment in the Ashr al-Hajj, encapsulating the essence of Hajj and offering a profound opportunity for all Muslims to engage in acts of worship and spiritual rejuvenation.


During this blessed season, Muslims strive to offer their best to Allah through worship that engages all aspects of their being—physical, spiritual, financial, and mental. While not everyone may be able to perform Hajj, Allah graciously enables us to earn its rewards annually through our devoted actions during these first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.


May we endeavor to seize the blessings of this sacred time, seeking Allah's pleasure and striving earnestly for His rewards.


Picture captured in 2021 at the Mas'a, Mecca.

 

 Recommended activities for the blessed Day of Arafa: note that all activities observed on the Day of Arafah culminate in the affirmation of the Oneness of Allah.

🕋 Fasting

🕋 Intention for I'tikaf and supplication between Asr and Maghrib

🕋 Recitation of Surah Al-Ikhlas 1000 times

🕋 Recitation of "La Ilaha Illa Allah Wahdahu La Shareeka Lahu, Lahul Mulku Wa Lahul Hamdu Biyadihil Khayru Wa Howa Ala Kuli Shai’in Kadir" 100 times

🕋 Recitation of Surah Al-Fatiha 100 times

🕋 Recitation of "Ashhadu Anna La Illaha Illa Allah Wahdahu La Sharika Lahu Wa Anna Mohammedan Abduhu Wa Rasouluh" 100 times

🕋 Recitation of "Subhanallah Wal Hamdulillah Wala Ilaha lllallah Walllahu Akbar Wa La Hawla Wa La Qwata Illa Billahil Aliyel Adhim" 100 times

🕋 Sending Salawat upon Prophet Ibrahim 100 times

🕋 Recitation of Surah Al-Anbiya and Surah Al-Hajj, with Salawat upon every mention of the Prophets' names

🕋 Recitation of Surah Al-Baqara & Surat Al-'An'am

🕋 Engaging in acts of charity

🕋 Engaging in lengthy and sincere supplications (du'a)



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